Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a powerful evidenced based approach that targets the connection between core negative thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and experiences. As we experience an event, our minds elicit opinions/judgments about the event, creating a new association in the brain that may either be helpful or unhelpful. I help individuals recognize how these associations, rules, or core beliefs, guide emotions and behavior, and vice versa. Together, we create goals for new behaviors, guided by values, that break negative core beliefs and strengthen areas of life that give the client purpose, connection, and/or a sense of accomplishment.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), primarily used to treat OCD, incorporates CBT by first recognizing how an unwanted and repetitive maladaptive thought pattern induces strong anxiety, thereby resulting in a behavior (or compulsion) that briefly provides relief from anxiety. However, over time, compulsions only reinforce anxiety and increase problematic symptoms associated with OCD. Exposure based therapy with response prevention involves identifying the problematic cognitive or behavioral habit that is leading to increased anxiety, and instead systematically “preventing” the habitual response through challenges called “exposures.” I work with each client on developing a well-planned hierarchy that starts with the least anxiety-provoking challenges and slowly increases in intensity. My clients are in full control of the process and must agree to each challenge before starting.